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Tall Blacks trim squad for final Paris qualifier

Updated: Jul 2

Dan Fotu Tall Blacks basketball
Dan Fotu will head back to New Zealand to rejoin the Nelson Giants. PHOTO: FIBA

Dan Fotu and Ben Gold have missed the cut for the Tall Blacks squad for their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.


The New Zealand men's basketball team will feature alongside Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Egypt and Dominican Repulic at the six-team event in Piraeus, Greece this week, one of four tournaments offering one golden ticket to the Paris Olympics.


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Nelson Giants forward Fotu was a late call-up to the Tall Blacks travelling squad, replacing injured Wellington Saints forward Hyrum Harris, while Gold, a 6-foot-11 forward about to enter his junior year at Marquette, has appeared five times for New Zealand.


Last week, neither Fotu or Gold featured in the buzzer-beater loss to Finland, while Gold played five minutes and Fotu was did not suit up in the blowout defeat to Poland.


Remaining is a veteran-laden group of Flynn Cameron, Finn Delany, Tyrell Harrison, Shea Ili, Izayah Le'afa, Sam Mennenga, Jordan Ngatai, Ethan Rusbatch, Reuben Te Rangi, Tom Vodanovich, Corey Webster and Yanni Wetzell.



The Tall Blacks open Group A play against Croatia on Wednesday at 4.30pm local time (2.30am Thursday NZT), before facing Slovenia 24 hours later.


New Zealand will need at least one win in pool play to finish in the top-two to qualify for the semifinals, where they could face hosts Greece, Egypt and Dominican Republic. Only the tournament winners will progress to Paris.


The Tall Blacks have not featured at an Olympics since Athens 2004, with failed qualifying tournament bids in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2021.


TALL BLACKS SQUAD


Flynn Cameron, Finn Delany, Tyrell Harrison, Shea Ili, Izaya Le'afa, Sam Mennenga, Jordan Ngatai, Ethan Rusbatch, Reuben Te Rangi, Tom Vodanovich, Corey Webster, Yanni Wetzell


TALL BLACKS SCHEDULE


vs Croatia, 4.30pm Wednesday, July 3 (2.30am Thursday, July 4 NZT)

vs Slovenia, 4.30pm Thursday, July 4 (2.30am Friday, July 5 NZT)

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